This past week or two have been big ones for me – working every weeknight and all through the weekends to keep on schedule. I’ve been playing with the new lighting engine of choice – a modified version of prettylight by Nik Sudan. It looks even better than in Caveman Craig 2, and has the added benefit of a gaussian blur shader which we’ll use sparingly for a layer of polish. It looks especially pretty in the main menu, as we blur the background scene when the menu elements appear.
Each level has added unique charm. The new level, originally to be part of DLC, set at Dudu Forest, works a little more like Survival mode as far as dinosaurs go. Rather than having a director ‘unleash’ groups of dinosaurs at chosen intervals to provide a crafted pace like most levels, dinosaurs are spawned at random, at any given time. I call it “frenzy” mode, and it will be an option when playing custom games, another feature we’re adding.
We had a lot of feedback about the ending of Caveman Craig 2. The final challenge, in which you lead the other tribe leaders into battle with a family of T-rexes, was an unexpected change of pace from the rest of the game. It was fun, though perhaps implemented poorly. In the new update, the T-rex challenge will become part of the final conquest level against our furry friend, Steve. It’s heaps more fun because you can enlist your entire tribe to take down the nest together, and strategise accordingly.
There’s still a lot to do, and my next big job is to implement Steam leaderboards. The current plan is to include leaderboards for each Conquest level, plus the mini-games. I’m not a big fan of global leaderboards, where seeing the number 1 player in the world only discourages you from bothering to even try. So we’ll be focusing on comparing scores with Steam friends only.
How do you measure how well you played a Conquest level? How quickly you finish it? How much damage you inflict? There are many different ways to play each level , and we want to encourage you to play the game in different ways and be rewarded for it. Each level will have a few standard high score measurements, but there’ll be some unique challenges as well in each level.
Our Steam update is nearing a private BETA release, the commencement of which will be flagged by a Caveman Craig re-launch Party, scheduled in a couple of weeks time. Before we initially released Caveman Craig 2 in 2012, we ran a testing party for a private group of friends. It proved very helpful in ironing out bugs, getting feedback, and generally prepping the game for final release.
With the amount of changes Tim and I have made over the past couple of months, we decided that another testing event was in order. With the use of Steam’s API, testing with a larger group of people is especially necessary to see how well everything works with regards to leaderboards, achievements, cloud sync, and so on.
Soon after the re-launch party, we hope to announce a release date and some more official details about what you can expect in Caveman Craig for Steam.
A development update for Caveman Craig for Steam for you all.
Progress is coming along quite well, and I’ve set myself a deadline for the end of the month to have all the core work done. We’ll then need to spend a few weeks testing, preparing launch material, and configuring the various aspects of the Steam page.
There’s a lot more to Caveman Craig for Steam than a layer of polish and a bunch of bug fixes and tweaks. We’ve added new features – stemming from the Dudu Forest DLC, or features we’ve wanted to implement since the original release in 2012, or new ideas we’ve had while porting the game to Steam.
Each Conquest level will feature a unique challenge to either aid or hinder you in your attempts to conquer the enemy tribe, or provide a secondary goal.
We’ve added some more achievements, and with them come new unlocks. In particular, there’s now a cheats menu where you can activate a number of fun modifiers, ala TimeSplitters, providing you have unlocked them. There are currently 7 cheats, including the “Barno” cheat that you can already unlock in the current version of Caveman Craig 2.
I’ve been going to town with Steam API integration. All the achievements are tied in with Steam’s system. We use Steam cloud to synchronise your game profiles, saved games, and stats between computers. And I soon plan to integrate Steam leaderboards. You’ll be able to compare various statistics and scores from Conquest, Survival, and all the mini-games with your friends (providing they also own the game).
A feature I’m really happy about is the ability to play 2-player co-op on a shared / split screen, old school style! You can play through the Conquest campaign with a sibling or a pal using a game controller (PlayStation, Xbox, etc). This was an experiment, and it proved to be a whole lot of fun. Players can now make cavemen follow them specifically by pressing “F” on the keyboard (or triangle / Y on the game controller) while they are standing over one. I’ve been playing with Tim and other friends – one might be in charge of training gatherers + preparers, the other in charge of training hunters… have one defend the tribe while the other attacks.. or both go all in.
We’re really taking advantage of the sandbox nature of Caveman Craig’s engine with this Steam port, too. Players will be able to start a custom Conquest or Survival game – customising the difficulty, scene, and characters. Personally, I like a game that gives players the freedom to customise it to the point of absurdity or malfunction. I’ll be trying to bring out this nature in Caveman Craig more. For example, last night I accidentally created a zombie apocalypse in one of my play-tests.
Ricky will be expanding the soundtrack to accommodate the new forest level (originally for the Dudu Forest DLC), and to include battle music! Tim will begin significantly redesigning the main menu to support the new levels and features, improving old animations, designing the new characters + dinosaurs, and so on.